Family heartbreak as mum and daughter die in head-on

HORROR CRASH: Leisa Purkis was killed in a head-on crash that also claimed the life of her daughter Emerson.
HORROR CRASH: Leisa Purkis was killed in a head-on crash that also claimed the life of her daughter Emerson. Facebook

A HEARTBROKEN South Kolan father had the harrowing ordeal of comforting his teenage son who saw his mum die and sister suffer fatal injuries in a horrific crash today.

Leisa Purkis, 46, died at the scene following a head-on collision with a truck along Bundaberg Gin Gin Rd about 7.45am.

Her daughter Emerson Purkis, 12, died in hospital early this afternoon from the injuries she suffered in the crash.

HORROR CRASH: Emerson Purkis died as a result of a head-on crash along Bundaberg Gin Gin Rd, which also claimed the life of her mother Leisa.
HORROR CRASH: Emerson Purkis died as a result of a head-on crash along Bundaberg Gin Gin Rd, which also claimed the life of her mother Leisa. Facebook

Flynn Purkis, 15, was in the back seat of the car and, fortunately, didn't receive any significant injuries.

The mother was running her two children into school at Shalom College.

As police investigate the cause of the collision, which has shaken a large section of the Bundaberg region's community, tributes are flowing for the family.

Shalom College principal Dan McMahon said the school community was in grieving.

"We are deeply saddened," Mr McMahon said.

He described the family as tight knit, loving and active in sporting circles.

Mr McMahon said both parents were hugely supportive of their children.

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said it was a tragic day for the region.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who passed away today," Mr Bennett said.

"The most horrific of accidents has taken two lives far too soon and it's vital our community bands together during this time of sorrow.

"I'm pleading with everyone who drives on our roads to drive with the utmost care and caution."

HORROR CRASH: Bundaberg Gin Gin Rd was closed in both directions for most of the day while emergency crews investigated the two-vehicle crash.
HORROR CRASH: Bundaberg Gin Gin Rd was closed in both directions for most of the day while emergency crews investigated the two-vehicle crash. mike knott

Many others shared their condolences on social media sites.

Speaking at the scene, Bundaberg Police Inspector Pat Swindells said emergency services responded to the traumatic incident shortly before 8am.

"At about 7.45 this morning a two-vehicle traffic crash has occurred on Gin Gin Rd in South Kolan," he said.

He said experts would investigate the double fatality, looking at the drivers, the road conditions and vehicle conditions.

He thanked community members who stopped to offer assistance.

HORROR CRASH: Leisa Purkis, 46, and Emerson Purkis, 12, both lost their lives after a two-vehicle crash on Gin Gin Rd in South Kolan.
HORROR CRASH: Leisa Purkis, 46, and Emerson Purkis, 12, both lost their lives after a two-vehicle crash on Gin Gin Rd in South Kolan. mike knott

"Any fatal traffic crash or any serious traffic crash is very traumatising to not only the families involved but all the emergency services who respond," he said.

"It's a situation where we ask people to drive to road conditions, and again, observe the fatal five.

"I'm not attributing any blame to this traffic crash at this stage ... (we will) wait for our investigators and experts to identify the cause.

"It's extremely traumatic for everybody involved and I can only feel for the first responders and the first people who drove across the traffic crash and found the scene."

A local resident has spoken out about the poor road conditions heading towards South Kolan.

David Walker said he drove on Bundaberg Gin Gin Rd multiple times a day for work, and said the road's condition was concerning.

ROAD CONDITIONS: David Walker says the condition of Gin Gin Rd is concerning.
ROAD CONDITIONS: David Walker says the condition of Gin Gin Rd is concerning. Toni Benson-Rogan

"I don't think they (the roads) are dangerous, I think the condition of them is very poor," he said.

Mr Walker said there was significant damage to the road including potholes and ruts.

A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said they were assisting police with an investigation into today's crash.

"Every death or serious injury on the road is one too many and it is standard departmental procedure to investigate all fatalities on the state road network.

"We have not received reports of recent potholes along this road from the public, but we are working with police, while also carrying out an independent departmental investigation," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the road was recently inspected.

In a statement, police said the incident was still under investigation.

Anyone who saw the crash or may have dashcam footage is encouraged to contact police.



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